The insanity of us dreamers…
May 1, 2012 § 2 Comments
Rita Mae Brown in her book Sudden Death said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” It’s the same as continually going to the hardware store for bread. You hope that someday, they will stock bread and the accusations of your insanity will be proven wrong. Similarly, writing screenplays and believing that someday a producer will buy your script and produce it into a movie can also be seen as insanity. I believe that dreamers are a bit insane, they have blind faith even when faced with insurmountable odds. As you stand at the side of the cliff and stare into the black void below, your dream burns red-hot in your mind and soul, and you leap off into the unknown, and trust the universe will softly catch your fall. The world needs dreamers and why would the universe be cruel to those who create while so many others cannot? It’s a commitment that allows you to dream — a magical faith in your ability to turn your ideas and visions into a something real in this world.
If you tell a writer the odds of selling a spec screenplay in Hollywood and he or she laughs and continues to write – either they are insane, or a writer who truly loves the craft of writing and believes he or she can make their dreams come true – even when told they can not. It’s an ongoing struggle to say in the game, but us dreamers know that it’s a road traveled by those special few who are fearless and sometimes called insane.
When my first spec screenplay was optioned after years of bouncing around Hollywood, it was very surreal — like a dream I had always envisioned as a kid, then suddenly it was real and moving forward. The next step of the dream was actually selling the script to the production company, they producing it into a film, and then distributing it. Dream over? No, I was now living the dream. Once your first movie is produced, and then your second, it becomes a little easier to see it’s not all some Dali-esque dream, but the result of extensive hard work, talent, razor-sharp focus, extreme sacrifice, and tremendous luck (preparation meets opportunity). You cross over into a surreal world where your dreams meet reality. It’s an entirely new realm.
What keeps me going when the proverbial chips are down? It’s faith, blinding commitment and probably a lot of insanity – the kind that allows us dreamers to move forward without fear, knowing the odds, and still being willing and able to do things many people cannot do because of fear. Fear and negative thoughts always get in the way of splendid plans. It also helps me personally to know that I’ve been to the rodeo before. Not once, but more than a handful of times with scripts that were produced into actual movies.
I just completed my twelfth paid screenwriting assignment and the movie goes into production next month. It feels good to have my seventh produced film go before the cameras and successfully worked with a production company that makes about fifteen moves a year. It was my first time working with them and it was a six month experience from treatment to script, executing notes, production polishes and now production. No fortune, fame or glory—none of the romanticized ideals of a screenwriter’s life—just a master craftsman, in his workshop, finishing up his twenty-seventh screenplay, blowing out the candle to return another day on another project. I never take any of it for granted and know the long slog and decades of experience that it’s taken me to get here.
It’s work—and will always be hard work, but I’m happy and humbled to have had another chance up to the plate and made sure to knock it out of the park. I never take it for granted. The real act of living the dream is an ongoing process of writing and your craft continually needs to be nurtured like a magical garden. Protect your dreams and share the blessings of your writing by always striving for the truth. You can’t take the leap of faith until you are willing to dive into the dark void of the unknown without any fear knowing you could completely fail. Ah, but what is failure? It’s not failure if you learn and continue to move forward toward your goal. I know, it must be the insanity of us dreamers. It’s okay. Keep on dreaming.
Take a minute to click on the “Quote for Today” page on this blog for some inspirational words from some very successful dreamers…
“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.“— Henry David Thoreau
“If you have a talent, use it in every which way possible. Don’t hoard it. Don’t dole it out like a miser. Spend it lavishly like a millionaire intent on going broke.“— Brendan Francis Behan
“The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.”
― Steven Pressfield, “The War of Art”
“Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together. Now, it’s your turn. Jump!” —Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
Did you just complete your latest screenplay and need in-depth consultation? Check out my services by clicking on the icon above for the link to my website and more information. You never get a second change to make a first great impression with your screenplay. Make the time to get it right.